This week I've been spending some time dyeing my new 80% Merino/20% Nylon sock yarn and decided to use madder as it is the first time I've used this root. I've been really interested in madder ever since I read about how it was used in dyeing church vestments in the middle ages. If you're a Ken Follet fan he writes quite comprehensively in his book "World Without End" about this process and the changes it made to the commercial success of weavers in the middle ages.
Madder is an ancient dyeing product originating in the Mediterranean (France, Portugal, Italy, Spain Greece, Malta and Cyprus) and depending on your wool preparation can create an array of colours from bright red through to the washed out sun-bleached pinky/red of old well-loved cotton shirts. It is so pretty.!! If your a bit of history buff you may recall that English soldiers of old were called Red Coats and this is because the privates military uniforms had to be dyed using the madder root to support English agricultural interests. Hence during the American Revolution the American militia wore Blue Coats - they grew indigo and not the madder plant.
Do pop by the shop and look at my new sock wool Gettysburg and Marlene Dietrich. Gettysburg is the first batch dyeing of madder so the colour is stronger but has a faded warmth about it. My second batch dyeing using this root is a gorgeous apricot colour reminiscent of the German born movie star Marlene Dietrich's beautiful complexion.
Over the last week I've been knitting up a pair of socks for myself using the Neapolitan colour-way. Haven't got too far at the moment but every time I think I'll make myself something and event or special occasion comes along and I end up donating to others. This time I'm hopefully I can keep for myself, but there are no guarantees until I get them on my feet.
Well back to the dye pots. Happy browsing everyone. ..